Do you grow squash in hills? Why or why not?

NilaJones(7b)April 4, 2013

I'd always grown them as one plant per hole, but hills of 3 seem to be the norm, at least where I live.

I tried it last year, with multiple varieties of summer squash, but I am not convinced that one group produced more than one plant would have in the same space. Of course, you know gardening, there are always so many variables...

Do you feel that 3 plants per hole means more squash per square foot? Do you think I am insane to talk about increased squash production as if it were a good thing? ;)

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Not hills per se but ridges is the way I was taught. We laid out everything with a hoe, furrows and ridges. Some stuff like beans and corn went into furrows. Our squash, cabbage, broccoli, tomatoes all were ridged. Not big ridges mind you like you would for potatoes but basically up one side of the row and down the other pulling dirt with the hoe then leveling it all out. Pop in a hole every 18 or so inches with the hoe drop two seeds and cover.
As I get older the more I seem to be reflecting on "that's how it was always done" and I'm appreciating my own father all the more for it. My younguns have never mastered the use of the hoe and it frustrates me that they haven't. I bought a wheel hoe this year and have really enjoyed it but I find it strange to have to swap out implements to do different tasks when in the past just the hoe was needed for everything.
BTW, it's rare that I'm never more than a few steps from my hoe as it rides in the back of the truck when I'm not in the garden.

It was never explained to me why we did it but I assume it has the do with which plants do better with dry feet and which can tolerate water in the row.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 12:52AM
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sunnibel7 Md 7(7)

I'm not clear whether hills means a raised spot or if it refers to the grouping, but I don't do either. I tried doing a group in my first garden and quickly found it to be a huge pain in our humid environment- they developed severe powdery mildew. As for raising them, I just never did, and it seemed fine.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 10:12AM
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I used 'hills' when I gardened in San Diego, to make watering easier. On Sunday evening, I would fill a gallon glass jug of water and turn it upside down in the middle of each hill. It took a couple of days for the water to ooze out of the bottle, keeping the soil consistantly moist. A blossom on Sunday evening would be a five pound zuc when I returned on Friday evening to water again. It was amazing.

Here in the Ozarks, a grouping like that would sure be a playground for squash bugs. This year, I'm going to try covering the squash with row cover until the blossoms open to try to get ahead of the bugs for awhile.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 10:28AM
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I think you get about the same ## of squash per square foot no matter how you plant them.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 12:15PM
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wertach zone 7-B SC

You will get better results and less disease if you space them wider apart. They need air circulation.

Like mcleod said about hilling, It was never explained to me why we did it, but we did because Daddy said so. We had a tractor so we didn't have to do it with a hoe. We planted them about 2' apart in a row.

I still plant about 2' apart in a furrow and I get as good of results as Daddy did. I do put 2 seeds per hole and pinch off the weaker one if both come up.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 12:38PM
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veggiecanner(Id 5/6)

The best production I gotten on summer squash was when I planted in long row, with the seeds about 6 inches apart.
Thinned to about 12 inches.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 1:01PM
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wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

I prefer individual plants for the most part. I think it gives them better room for roots and tops. As far as ridging goes, it depends on your situation. If your soil is wet and cold, ridge it. If your soil is dryer, level or groove it.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 1:43PM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

I plant my Zucchini in rows. I put one seed or one transplant, per foot. About every 3rd or 4th, I put in two seeds. I don't thin. The reason I use rows is because I use drip tape to irrigate. The emitters are spaced every 12 inches. They have other widths, but I don't want to buy different drip tape for different crops. I also find that I can cultivate with the tractor easier (until they get too big). Then I can go back with a hoe and catch all the close weeds. The plants also form a quicker canopy and shade out some weeds. I keep cultivating between rows until they have vined out too far.

This is also how we do winter squash and melons. I have also found it is easier to harvest. I also plant zucchini inside our high tunnels in rows.

I grew up planting hills, but that was on a smaller scale in our home garden.


    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 1:47PM
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Thanks, folks!

Yeah, i worried about that usage of the word 'hill' as soon as I hit 'post' :). Around here, it means a grouping, and not a raised area. But it dawned on me just two seconds too late that the thread title would be confusing to... pretty much anyone else.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 2:27PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

I use hills/raised mounds with 3 plants to each hill. Warmer soil = faster germinating, easier to contain, better drainage, better cross pollination so timing of M/F blooms isn't an issue, easier to hand pollinate if needed, easier to feed, easier to bury stems if any borers do get in, and most importantly easier to cover with row cover/insect barriers to prevent SVB and squash bugs.


    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 3:21PM
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